Homa Bay nurses end strike

Homa Bay nurses

Homa Bay County nurses stage a protest over delayed salaries in 2018.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Homa Bay nurses ended a two-month strike after the local government pledged to address their concerns.

The nurses called off their strike on Wednesday after negotiations with the county government.

In a meeting chaired by Homa Bay County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe and the County Health Executive Prof Richard Muga, the health workers under their umbrella body, Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) decided to resume duty after their employer assured them that their complaints would be heard. 

Union officials instructed members to resume work immediately. 

Nurses declared a nationwide strike November 23 last year. 

Most public hospitals were closed as the health workers took to the street to demand a number of issues from county governments. 

Knun members in Homa Bay joined the strike, in solidarity with their colleagues resulting in total paralysis of health services in major facilities. 

In Homa Bay, nurses were asking for a comprehensive medical cover, timely salary payment, promotions, better working environment among other grievances. 

Union officials led by Knun Secretary Omondi Nyonje, Treasurer Juma Magara and Lilian Ogutu (trustee) said they reached an agreement with the county government to address contentious issues.

 “There are many issues which we wanted to be addressed. The county government has offered to tackle serious ones first,” Mr Nyonje said. 

He told union members that their employer has assured them of enhanced risk allowance, which he said will be paid according to regulations of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).  

“The county government has agreed to implement payment of risk allowance as stated by SRC from January this year,” he told nurses. 

The medics were also demanding promotions. 

According to Mr Nyonje, the county government has agreed to regularly promote nurses from one job group to another. 

The health workers will also be receiving their salaries on time in line with the agreement. 

“We also agreed that the county will provide us with comprehensive health insurance from July this year,” Mr Nyonje added.  

Mr Ogwe told journalists that Homa Bay County government had addressed some of the issues that were being asked by KNUN national officials. 

He said they managed to negotiate with the nurses to call off the strike because there were no serious issues affecting the health workers. 

“Health workers in Homa Bay County were just in solidarity with their colleagues from other counties. Most of their demand had been addressed even before the strike began,” the county secretary said. 

The county government is now focused on talking to other health workers who are still on strike, including clinical officers. 

Prof Muga said they are negotiating with officials from the Kenya National Union of Clinical Officers to to tell their members to resume duty.